Benefits and Uses of Chlorella
What is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a genus of green algae (family Chlorellaceae) found either singly or clustered in fresh or salt water. The whole chlorella plant is used to make nutritional supplements and medicine. There are several species of chlorella with Chlorella vulgaris being one of the most commonly used in supplements. Chlorella algae is a cousin of spirulina (learn more about in separate blog).
What are the benefits?
Studies have shown that chlorella benefits the entire body by supporting healthy hormonal function, promoting cardiovascular health, helping to negate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and aiding in the detoxification of our bodies.
Chlorella has also been used to try to treat or prevent the following: (1)
- Asthma attacks
- Bad breath
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Low B-12 levels
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted infection)
- White patches on genitals called vulvar leukoplakia
Chlorella can help:
- Boost energy levels
- Detoxify the body
- Improve mental function
1. Detoxifies Heavy Metals
If you have mercury fillings in your teeth, have been vaccinated, eat fish regularly, have been exposed to radiation or consume foods from China, you may have heavy metals lurking in your body. It is important for your overall health and wellness to be proactive in detoxifying heavy metals and toxins.
One of chlorella’s most significant health benefits is that it wraps itself around even stubborn toxins residing in our bodies, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and uranium, and keeps them from being reabsorbed. Regular consumption of chlorella may even help keep heavy metals from accumulating in our bodies’ soft tissues and organs in the first place. (2, 3)
2. Detoxifies Radiation and Chemotherapy
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the most common forms of cancer treatment today. Anyone who has gone through either of these treatments, or knows anyone who has, knows what a toll they take on the body. Chlorella’s high levels of chlorophyll have been shown to protect the body against ultraviolet radiation treatments while removing radioactive particles from the body.
According to researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College, “Cellular components and functions of the immune system remain at or near normal levels and are less adversely affected when patients are undergoing chemotherapy and/or taking immunosuppressive medications such as steroids.” The university’s two-year study allowed researchers to observe that glioma-positive patients have fewer respiratory infections and flu-like illnesses when taking chlorella.(4)
3. Supports Your Immune System
Research published in 2012 in the Nutrition Journal found that after 8 weeks of chlorella intake, NK cell activity improved. Researchers from the Yonsei University in Seoul Korea studied healthy individuals and their immune system’s response to chlorella supplements.
The results showed that chlorella supports a healthy immune system response and helps and helps “natural killer” cell activity. (5)
4. Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
Losing weight is difficult, especially as we age. In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers state, “Chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels.” (6)
Chlorella benefits you by helping to regulate hormones, helping with metabolism, improving circulation and promoting higher levels of energy. It also helps to reduce weight and body fat, and removes stored toxins.
As our bodies lose weight, toxins are released, and can be reabsorbed. It is important to flush these toxins out of our system as quickly as possible. Chlorella’s ability to surround the toxins and heavy metals resident in our bodies helps facilitate elimination and prevent reabsorption.
5. Makes You Look Younger
Are there chlorella benefits for skin? There sure are! Research continues to reveal that chlorella may also slow the aging process, making you look younger. A study published in the journal Clinical Laboratory revealed that chlorella greatly reduces oxidative stress, which may be caused from pollution, stress and a poor diet. (7)
The reason chlorella is so effective at giving you younger looking skin is because it naturally increases levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and glutathione in your body, which eliminates free radicals and protects your cells.
By just taking one teaspoon or a couple capsules daily of a chlorella supplement, you may see results in as little as two weeks.
6. Fights Cancer
It is believed that all human bodies at some time develop cancer cells. Properly functioning immune systems have the ability to attack and destroy these cells, before they have the chance to take hold and create cancer. A recent medical study found that chlorella helps fight cancer in several ways. (8)
First, when taken preemptively, it strengthens the immune system, so our bodies respond properly. Second, because it removes heavy metals and toxins from our body, we are less likely to get environmentally based cancers. Third, studies have shown that individuals once diagnosed with cancer, chlorella enhances the action of T cells helping to fight new abnormal cells.
And, as mentioned above, if cancer is diagnosed, and chemotherapy or radiation therapy is used, chlorella can help to fight the side effects and be used in addition to natural cancer treatments.
7. Lowers Your Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol are two of the serious chronic conditions facing many Americans today. Years of improper eating, stress and a lack of sleep have led many to one or both of these diagnoses.
In a study published the Journal of Medicinal Food; researchers found that doses of 8,000 mg of chlorella per day (divided into 2 doses), helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
Researchers observed first a decline in cholesterol levels, and then the improvement in blood glucose. They believe that chlorella activates a number of genes at the cellular level that improve insulin sensitivity, encouraging a healthy balance.(9, 10)
What are the nutritional facts?
Chlorella is one of the most nutrient-dense super foods in the world.
Three tablets of chlorella contain about: (11, 12)
- 10 calories
- 2 grams protein
- 0 grams fat
- 1 gram carbohydrate
- 0 milligrams sodium
- 78 milligrams vitamin c (87 percent DV)
- 3000 international units vitamin A (60 percent DV)
- 6.3 milligrams iron (35 percent DV)
In addition, chlorella nutrition contains a good amount of vitamin K, vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and phosphorus.
When you look at its nutrient density score, it’s easy to see why chlorella is ranked one of the top 10 health foods in the world. In fact, it is more nutrient dense per gram than other greens, including kale, spinach and broccoli!
What are its uses in Traditional Medicine?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, chlorella is said to provide yin energy. This means that it is very helpful to an over stimulated or imbalanced body. It can have a calming effect on the nervous system while nourishing and restoring the body as a whole.
In Ayurvedic Medicine, chlorella (as well as Ghee) is believed to supply ojas (“vitality” or “life force”) to people who feel run down or who could use an extra boost to their already positive state of health. (13)